College student on his way to close friend's funeral dies in car crash

- A Georgia college student traveling home for his slain close friend’s funeral was killed in a car wreck, never making it to the service where he was to serve as a pallbearer.

Malik Cooper, 20, was driving from Alabama to Atlanta when his car left the wet road and crashed into a tree on December 3, his mother told

“It was raining badly, the car slid and he was gone,” Bridgett Grimes said. “He didn’t suffer. But it’s been painful and hurtful — we’re grieving.”

Cooper was a talented athlete and a hard-working young man who wanted to start his own business, Grimes said.

“He was a loving person, everybody loved him. He lit up a room,” she said. “He was a real joker. He loved baseball, football... and he loved playing baseball. Whatever position you wanted Malik at, Malik was there. He was a go-getter."

A second-year business student at Tuskegee University with an athletic scholarship, he planned to follow in his father’s footsteps and start his own business.

“He wanted to be his own boss, he wanted to be an entrepreneur,” Grimes said.

His sudden death left many reeling as they tried to make sense of such a promising life cut tragically short.

“I'm so sorry to hear about your son. I remember how your face would light up every time you talked about him,” one donor wrote to Cooper’s parents on a GoFundMe page created to offset burial costs.

“It is always tragic to lose a member of our university community but it is particularly difficult to lose one of our students — our very best and brightest — who had his entire life before him," Tuskegee University’s President Brian Johnson said in a statement. “We send our deepest thoughts and prayers to his family, his friends and classmates during this extremely difficult time."

Cooper was on his way home for the Monday funeral for Marquez Montgomery, 15, a close friend who had been fatally shot on November 28.

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